At Sea Fisheries Observer (Part Time)


Archipelago Marine Research


Archipelago Marine Research Ltd. is now seeking hard working, enthusiastic people to work at sea as Fisheries Observers. While this is a year round employment opportunity, work levels are seasonal. The position requires working and living aboard vessels conducting fishing operations in British Columbia waters. Fisheries Observer duties include: documenting catch size and composition, verifying fishing locations, collecting biological samples, monitoring compliance to fishery regulations, and describing fishing and processing techniques within a comprehensive trip report.

Working and Living Conditions

Vessels range in length from 40 feet to over 100 feet. Working conditions on deck are typically wet and can be cold. The job may involve heavy lifting. Many of the vessels operate with three or four crew members. The Observer will be assigned a bunk in the crew’s quarters, which are usually cramped and may be co-ed.

Training and Certification

Applicants will be screened and interviewed through a competitive process. Successful applicants must then participate in and complete a three-week certification-training course.

The next course is tentatively scheduled to start on January 7, 2019.

Employment can only be offered to those who complete this training with a passing grade. Out-of-town trainees will be provided with accommodation if required. Upon successful completion of the course, applicants’ names will be forwarded to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for screening and final certification.

All successful applicants will be required to consent to a Criminal Record Check being performed by the Commissionaires during the first week of training.

Note: that the Fisheries Act and Fisheries (General) Regulations state that a person who owns, operates, manages, or is an employee of an enterprise that catches, cultures, processes or transports fish cannot be certified as a Fisheries Observer.

Deployments and Work Levels

Observers are deployed from a number of ports in BC. Deployment periods average 24 days in length with each deployment period being made up of individual vessel assignments that average six days. Some assignments may extend to over 30 days. Between assignments Observers are on active status and are expected to be available within the deployment port. During these active-status days, Observers have the use of a staff house.

Personal and Professional Development

Observing represents a great opportunity for students and recent graduates to expand their knowledge of fisheries management while travelling coast wide. Former observers have gone on to work with the Canadian Coast Guard, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and as registered professional biologists.


  • Documenting all fishing activity, including catch size and composition
  • Verifying fishing locations
  • Collecting biological samples including otoliths and hatchery-reared salmon
  • Monitoring compliance to fishery regulations
  • Describing fishing and processing techniques in comprehensive trip reports
  • Occasional reporting of sightings to the B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network


Successful applicants must have:

  • Experience working at sea and a lack of susceptibility to motion sickness
  • Completed at least one year of post-secondary education in a related discipline — current students and recent graduates majoring in marine biology, resource management, fisheries and aquaculture, environmental science, and environmental technology comprise the majority of our field staff
  • Experience accurately recording data (at sea preferred)
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Excellent math skills
  • A demonstrated ability to work long hours under adverse conditions and without supervision
  • A VHF Marine “Restricted Operator’s Certificate (Maritime)” — Arrangements can be made to obtain this certification during the three-week training program
  • Canadian citizenship or permanent resident/landed immigrant status
  • Ability to travel freely to and from the USA
  • No employment or ownership stake in a commercial fishing or processing operation
  • The ability to provide a criminal record check by the end of week one of training

Note: Applicants living outside of British Columbia or in the BC Interior must be willing to relocate to Coastal BC — i.e. the Lower Mainland, the Sunshine Coast, the Gulf Islands, Vancouver Island or the Prince Rupert region.

In addition to these qualifications, applicants should have knowledge of marine fish identification and the commercial fishing industry and have some experience working at sea. Preference will be given to those applicants who meet all of these requirements.

At-sea Fisheries Observers (Coastal BC) — next course starts January 7, 2019

Salary: $172.13 to $236.69 /day

How to Apply


Visit to download an application form. Email your completed application form, a scanned handwritten cover letter, and a PDF copy of your

resume or print it and fax it to 250-383-0103.

Hardcopy application packages can be mailed to:

Archipelago Marine Research Ltd.

525 Head Street

Victoria, BC, V9A 5S1